On the last day of #flexibleworkweek I want to share my work story and how I came to give up a job as a partner in a law firm to found my own #startup legal tech disruptor.
In 2014 I had my first baby, it was terrifying to leave a legal practice I had spent 4 years building from scratch and I had to muddle my way through my return to work from maternity leave. In 2015 I was made partner and in 2016 I went on my second period of maternity leave. I decided during that time that returning to my position of partner with a traditional practice was not conducive to the #flexiblework I needed.
I applied for a number of in-house role including with an ASX100 company but was told, despite being a highly qualified candidate, I would not be considered due to my need for #flexibility. This was a reoccurring theme during my job search journey. I was “too senior” for roles that allowed #flexibility but my need for #flexibility was a barrier to senior leadership roles.
Having helped many women exit workplaces following unlawful pregnancy/carer’s discrimination I was outraged by the fact I was not being considered for positions I was quite clearly well qualified for, on the basis I wanted #flexibility – it is 2017 for goodness sake, if we are serious about women in senior leadership we must accept that they likely come with carer’s responsibilities and accommodate them.Flexiblework#equality#knowyourrights Click To Tweet
In March 2017 the Future of Law and Innovation in the Profession Report (the flip report) was published. It was commissioned by the Law Society of NSW and made a series of recommendations to enable lawyers to adapt to the changes occurring in the profession. The flip report identified that there is an urgent need for innovation to aid access to justice, consumers are driving increased use of legal technology, and flexible work arrangements including freelancing could promote diversity (http://www.lawsociety.com.au/cs/groups/public/documents/internetcontent/1272514.pdf).
On reading the flip report I was convinced of a business idea I had, to use technology to match employees that need simple, quick and affordable legal advice with experienced employment lawyers that want truly #flexiblework.
For too long there has been a “missing middle” those employees that aren’t eligible for legal aid and cannot afford traditional practice fees, and it has been a barrier to them seeking justice when their work rights are breached. And, for too long lawyers have walked away from traditional practice following parental leave because it does not afford the #flexibility they need.
In May 2017 I founded Resolution123, online legal for employees. I am working on launching a “virtual consult” in July this year where employees will be able to determine with the aid of technology, whether they have a prima facie unfair dismissal, general protections or bullying claim, and get assistance building their brief. The brief can then be submitted to a lawyer for a value based fixed fee quote that will be around 1/3 the cost of engaging a lawyer through a traditional law firm. Lawyers pocket the same amount but get to determine when they work, how much they work and how they work.
#flexibility is the future, and fortunately for me I have been able to identify a way to meet a real need in the market that will provide me and others with truly #flexiblework.beboldforchange #leanin #flexible workweek Click To Tweet
Carly Stebbing, Founder, Resolution123
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